CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Three people have been charged with drug offenses over Australia’s largest seizure of methamphetamine, which had been smuggled to Melbourne from Bangkok in stereo speakers.
Police estimate the 1.596 metric tons (1.759 U.S. tons) of the drug also known as ice and crystal meth had a street value of AU$1.197 billion ($818 million). The 37 kilograms (82 pounds) of heroin also seized was the largest haul of that drug in Australia since 2017, a police statement said.
Two men, aged 37 and 38, and a 37-year-old woman were appearing in a Melbourne court on Thursday charged with drug importation offenses that carry potential life prison sentences, police said. They have not been named.
They were arrested after police executed search warrants on Wednesday at several Melbourne properties.
Australian Border Force officers detected the haul in vacuum-sealed packages concealed in speakers at the Melbourne waterfront in April.
A larger consignment of 1.728 metric tons (1.905 U.S. tons) of crystal meth bound for Australia was seized in California in January. Australian police said then it was the largest shipment of the drug bound for Australia and the largest ever domestic seizure in the United States.
Australia is an attractive market for international drug traffickers because of the relatively high prices that Australian drug users are willing to pay.